APP NAME: Shift 2 Unleashed
RELEASE DATE(S): August 4th, 2011
EA wants you racing again with Shift 2 Unleashed which is the newest title in their Need for Speed series. The Shift line has more of a realistic racing feel as compared to Hot Pursuit or Undercover, but Shift 2 Unleashed tries to blend the lines between realistic and arcade racing. The game is more of an upgrade to Need for Speed Shift which has been removed from the App Store for the updated Shift 2. Some of the career mode events and Quick Race Trails return, plus there are three new locations with Black Forest, Abu Dhabi, and Rio.
The game really feels like Shift 1.5 more than Shift 2, and the differences could have been a nice update to an existing $5 iPhone and $10 iPad game. Now you have to buy a whole new game to get the changes that don’t really qualify for a whole separate game. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a great racing game that is always amazing to see on a mobile device, but the original NFS Shift was great too. Shift 2 has many of the same tracks and challenges as well as gameplay flaws. The biggest problem is the lack of action on screen at once, and overall challenge.
There is only about one other challenger in a race of six cars, so it really loses the true nature of racing. The game begins with auto-acceleration, steering assist, and break assist cranked all the way up. After changing the controls to allow for some challenge, the tracks aren’t too difficult to navigate, so driving through a race just feels like you’re going through the motions. You would expect a graphics increase with more powerful devices since the original Shift was released, but there is really nothing noteworthy. In fact there is some softness around the edges of the car, as well as in-game text.
Not every object has been improved for the retina display, and it’s noticeable, and even on the iPad 2 it’s not that great. To make matters worse, EA has acquired Firemint, who makes the Real Racing series, and Shift 2 doesn’t even come close to the quality or gameplay of Real Racing 2. EA also is trying to add in Origin, which is their own Social gaming service, as if there weren’t enough already. Origin doesn’t add anything to the game except annoying pop-ups. You need to add your friends to the new service, as it doesn’t connect to Game Center in any way. Also, there are no online leaderboards at the moment, and you can only compare scores with Origin friends. If that wasn’t enough, there’s no online multiplayer, and just local WiFi multiplayer.
There are over 40 unlockable cars with some of the most well known powerful cars available. You earn money for every race you play which you can use to upgrade your existing car or buy a new one. If earning money isn’t enough, EA has provided a number of in-app purchases to buy coins. You can upgrade your vehicles at a pretty good rate with no extra money, but an in-app purchase could get you a really advanced car. The cars are split into classes, and so are the events, so a class A car could easily pass you through D-B events.
Shift 2 Unleashed ($2.99, iPhone / $3.99, iPad) is a disappointment to say the least, and there are just numerous problems. The most glaring negative is the basic gameplay that lacks action, challenge, and anything that will engage you. The new additions in the sequel are few and far between, and the game doesn’t feel very different from the original.
Sift 2 Unleashed is worth skipping as it’s just a basic racing game that lacks fun among other things.